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University of Balamand > Spotlights > Roula Abdel-Massih

Assoc. Prof. Abdel-Massih

A Young Established Scientist

Meet Associate Professor Roula Abdel-Massih.​
In 2011, in recognition of her accomplishments, Dr. Abdel-Massih was named by The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS) a “TWAS Young Affiliate” for a period of five years. Based in Trieste, TWAS works to advance scientific work that contributes toward sustainable prosperity in the developing world.

As a TWAS young affiliate, she has had the opportunity to represent Lebanon in a number of scientific conferences, among them meetings in China, Italy, and more recently at the TWAS 25th general meeting in Muscat, Oman. This year, she will be representing Lebanon in Vienna.

Participation at these meetings, says Dr. Abdel-Massih, provides “a good opportunity for young scientists, where they can meet with great scientists, including Nobel laureates.”

While recently representing Lebanon in an ARO-TWAS meeting at the celebrated Library of Alexandria, Egypt, she had the opportunity to meet Bruce Alberts, one of the main authors of The Molecular Biology of the Cell, a book that she has been teaching in her classes for the past 10 years.

The author of 19 publications in peer reviewed journals; Dr. Abdel-Massih is currently studying the biological activity of plant products, looking for anti-bacterial molecules within plant extracts. Her focus is on the biotransformation of molecules and the effect of Lebanese plant extracts on multi-drug resistant bacterial isolates.

Dr. Abdel-Massih first joined the Faculty of Health Sciences at Balamand, in Beirut, as a part timer in 2001 and was then offered a full time position in 2003 in the Department of Biology in the Faculty of Sciences on the main campus. She contributed to the development of that department and served as its chair from 2008 till 2011.

Dr. Abdel-Massih obtained a BS and an MS in Biology from the American University of Beirut, and while a master’s student she received a grant from UNESCO to pursue part of her research in Glasgow University in Scotland. She did so, and then pursued a PhD in Plant Biochemistry from the same university.

Since joining the University of Balamand, she has focused her research on the “biological activity of plant extracts (anti –proliferative, antioxidant, and antibacterial activity). Her research interests include the biological activities of medicinal plants, and the genotoxcity of waste water and air particulates.
This year, during her participation in Muscat, Oman, Dr. Abdel-Massih addressed the problems and conflicts that scientists face in the Arab World, and talked about the importance of engaging women in this field. As a member of OWSD, the international forum uniting women scientists from the developing and developed world, this is a subject of significant concern to her.

Dr. Abdel-Massih’s philosophy as a teacher is to focus on interactive teaching, where, she says “we let the students do most of the teaching through projects.”

In a recent workshop at the US National Academy of Science she had the opportunity to learn about new teaching methodologies on interactive teaching, and she tries to apply them in her courses. This summer, she is again invited to attend the National Academy Summer Institute where she will once more have the opportunity to discuss new methodologies that will help her redesign courses to make them more interactive.

A mother of four, Dr. Abdel-Massih is married to Ziad Daoud, a microbiologist at the Faculty of Medicine.

She says that she is happy to be at Balamand where she “has all the support” to try the things she really likes, enjoying a friendly university community where everyone operates on a gracious open door policy. ​​
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University of Balamand,
Balamand Al Kurah,

Tel:  +961-6-930250
Fax: +961-6-930278